(3.5) Agree with another reviewer that its scope is too large, so it suffers from many generalities and we also don't go deep enough into any of the i(3.5) Agree with another reviewer that its scope is too large, so it suffers from many generalities and we also don't go deep enough into any of the individual stories of brace women to get engrossed.
I will say that I'm actually glad that I found this book a little disappointing: it would be a shame if a book could capture 400 years of women's American history in a mere 400 pages. I would have loved if an entire book were devoted to telling the tales of 5 colonial women, even if told primarily through court documents (seems that most of the data are from lawsuits, deaths, marriages etc.). Or if it were a purely historical text, not trying to telling stories of individuals. Similarly, could've even tried to break out a single century for its own text, and again either decide to be a historical text covering trends for women overall, or more biographical and focused on individual women. Or split geographically? Anyway, a hugely ambitious task to reduce so much history into so few pages. It was probably quite a battle with her editor on this one. :)...more
I enjoyed reading Mark's narratives of his grandparents and parents. I learned a lot about how Japanese were tre(3.5) Quite a book-worthy family tree!
I enjoyed reading Mark's narratives of his grandparents and parents. I learned a lot about how Japanese were treated in Canada during World War II (particularly in British Columbia). How awful this was, but how it was crucial to Mark ever coming into existence. The lives that his families lived were certainly eventful and worthy of being written down. The narrative is largely engaging, but could be a little more literary and definitely could benefit from more reflection from Mark. For most of the book, the narratives are very matter-of-fact, and could've been written by anyone. They could be even more meaningful coming from their descendant.
The main exception to this was his mother's narrative, particularly after she divorced his father. Her decline was clearly coming, painful to read, and revealed much more of Mark's emotion. I think he could've gone deeper into his feelings along the way (kind of reminded of Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction, which did this part well, though the roles were reversed).
I was also surprised that forgiveness didn't play more of a role in this book. Particularly given the subtitle, I expected the forgiveness to describe early relations between his parents' families, but the forgiveness he spends far more time on is his forgiving himself for his relationship with his mother. This ties into my criticism above that he doesn't reflect on the narrative nearly as much as he could have.
The interweaving of narratives didn't seem to help my enjoyment either. I was pretty neutral. There might've been ways to interleave them more, show more parallels etc. But absent that, I'd recommend just keeping the narratives separate and immerse the reader in each of them, as again, they are very rich veins of narrative....more
I wonder how much material he got from each person to distill down to the meaty snippets we get: the core of the pa(4.0) Intriguing stories and photos
I wonder how much material he got from each person to distill down to the meaty snippets we get: the core of the pain, the loss, the pride, the fear. Some of these, I'd love to dive in and read the whole transcript.
Maybe it's a Rorschach phenomenon, because I hope my impression of how many people with really painful backgrounds are in here is not representative of the population as a whole, but there are a lot of people overcoming (or better have overcome) tough, tough childhoods....more
(3.5) Much I didn't know about the history of Monopoly (or monopoly?). Interesting.
I had heard that Darrow might not have come up with Monopoly himsel(3.5) Much I didn't know about the history of Monopoly (or monopoly?). Interesting.
I had heard that Darrow might not have come up with Monopoly himself, and that the original inspiration was a game to teach the dangers of unregulated capitalism. But didn't realize the real originator of the game was a woman--decades earlier than 1935--named Lizzie Magie. Nor that Quakers living in Atlantic City (that there were Quakers trying to build a community in Atlantic City itself was new to me) were the ones who really spread the monopoly game meme.
Mapping the threads of the game from Lizzie to Darrow and the other fragments (e.g. Finance, Inflation) would be a really cool visual. So would a series of the different gameboards through the ages (we have a fair bit of this in the book, but interrupted by lots of text ;) ).
The Anti-Monopoly lawsuit(s) very interesting as well. Hadn't heard that history either. Perhaps could have gone into the implications of that decision a bit more. What did it mean that Anti-Monopoly didn't infringe on the Monopoly trademark? Did that lead to all of the XXX-opoly games we see now? Were there any downstream effects?...more
The book reveals a sincere interest in the workings of the human body as well as the people Francis treats who inhabit them. The book is informat(4.0)
The book reveals a sincere interest in the workings of the human body as well as the people Francis treats who inhabit them. The book is informative, entertaining, engaging. He tends to focus on the pathology of each (cataracts/blindness of the eye, cancer of the breast), which makes sense given that he is a physician, and consistently chooses relevant history, literature and anecdotes that make each section far more than simply a physiology of the relevant part.
I think my primary disappointment was that he didn't delve deeper into each part of the body, nor cover more of it either. He could have chosen more territory as he's served many medical roles in his past and has been exposed to pretty much everything. This might've felt more comprehensive. Or he could have spent more time on each part, develop a few narratives or threads on each part. It probably would've been more profound with this approach. As it is, it felt a bit of a fleeting tour of just some of the body. ...more
Thorough, very personal portrayal of several Nagasaki hibakusha, survivors of the atomic bomb. Southard clearly spent a great(4.5) Powerful narratives
Thorough, very personal portrayal of several Nagasaki hibakusha, survivors of the atomic bomb. Southard clearly spent a great deal of time with her key hibakusha, but also with their writings, their speeches, as well as those of many other survivors she met and researched during the eleven years writing this book. Her narratives recreating each survivor's experience just before, during and the days after the attack are powerful. We learn so much about her chosen subjects, understand as well as someone reading a book 70 years later can possibly understand what they experienced and how they managed to keep alive and start a new life as a hibakusha.
We also learn a great deal of the politics within Japan, with the United States and propaganda within the United States and during occupation of Japan that kept much of the hibakushas' stories' and suffering hidden. She covers this topic well enough to fill in the gaps and demonstrate the motivation for many of her hibakusha to push for rights and medical care for survivors in addition to their fight for nuclear disarmament. This is clearly not her focus, however, which helps to highlight the narratives she's sharing.
Weaknesses: As Southard moves into the 1980s and 1990s, the narrative becomes a little less compelling and even feels a bit redundant at times. Several times she points out that some of the hibakusha she highlights spoke out from the very beginning, while others remained silent for their own reasons, but in the end they all became vocal advocates of nuclear disarmament and for remembering the dead. ...more
(3.5) Little formulaic and contrived business cases, I enjoyed the demonstration of leadership principles in military setting
The structure of this boo(3.5) Little formulaic and contrived business cases, I enjoyed the demonstration of leadership principles in military setting
The structure of this book is interesting: each chapter is a particular principle that great/extreme leaders demonstrate with three sub-parts: * military (often combat) narrative demonstrating the principle (this is the meat, ~75%, of each chapter) * quick summary of the principle and why it's relevant in combat * short, somewhat generic narrative showing principle in a business context, ostensibly from authors' consulting experience - almost always includes a, "back in Iraq, we couldn't do X, we had to do Y" and a "really?" - the executives always come around in a paragraph or two, making it feel contrived - these were a lot less convincing than the military narratives I thought (though perhaps to someone from the armed forces, they may sound generic, contrived too?)
The lessons are good ones:
* extreme ownership (you own everything that goes wrong, especially when it's the fault of someone in your organization) * no bad teams, only bad leaders (your teams are probably made of good people, if you have a bad leader, however, they can underperform) * believe (you must understand and believe in the larger mission behind a decision in order to lead others. Ask if you don't believe) * check the ego (it's about team success, not you being right or receiving credit) * cover and move (teams must work together with teamwork; no rivalries, competition, finger-pointing) * simple (keep it simple) * prioritize and execute (what is most important thing to decide or do? do that first, then move to the next thing; don't paralyze by doing many things at once) * decentralized command (you can really only manage about 6 people: larger organizations need decision-makers below you) * plan (have a repeatable planning process) * leading up and down the chain of command (give information up to help your leaders trust you; convey big picture to the chain below you so they believe and can operate with decentralized command) * decisiveness and uncertainty (be decisive with the data you have when you need a decision--not deciding is a decision, often not the right one) ...more
Understand the comparisons to Gone Girl, but the concept and style seem a little better. A few inconsistencies in characters, plot(3.5) Entertaining.
Understand the comparisons to Gone Girl, but the concept and style seem a little better. A few inconsistencies in characters, plot eye rolls that bothered me. Still page-turning fun. The bracketed parentheticals might've been lazy literature, but were helpful/playful literary irony.
Recommend reading in long stretches as the jumps in time can be a little jarring but for the most part are specifically chosen to enlighten surrounding narrative. You may be lost if you read in 10 page chunks.
One sequence I really enjoyed was the man in the street witnessing caroling in Lotto's house and being changed forever (under mistaken impression it was pure joy he saw).
Also liked contemplation of just how much can a person's life can change from a single event ((view spoiler)[Aurelie's push (or not?) at the top of the stairs, though how real was the family's response was? (hide spoiler)]).
(view spoiler)[Also, is aurelie an actual sociopath or not? Her seeming true love of Lotto, 'pardoning' of Chollie for the the sake of Land, Citizen Cane moment when she recalls the incident atop the stairs... (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more